Does Switching Jobs Hurt Your Career?

“Stay at a company for at least two years.” I can’t even count the number of times I’ve been on the receiving end of this advice and heard the same advice passed on to others. Everyone from your colleagues to your family have an opinion on this topic, and as someone who has worked in recruitment for several years and receives detailed resume feedback on the regular from hiring teams, I can tell you that the answer to the question is complicated.

On one hand, there are clear benefits of job hopping. On the other hand, it can impact your reputation and the perception of you as an employee and a candidate.

THE GOOD

Career Advancement

When you job hop (change jobs every 1-2 years), you have the potential to go further faster, especially early in your career when you’re trying to build up a portfolio of skills, knowledge and experience to take on more responsibility. You’re not waiting for that ‘next job’ to come up in your current company and quickly taking on more senior titles.

Job Satisfaction

Switching jobs can help you to find the right company for you. One where you can see yourself staying for the longer term where you have a great team and growth opportunities. If you’re absolutely miserable in a job where there is no resolution, staying in it for years is going to be pretty painful.

Compensation

Changing jobs can be a very lucrative way to increase your salary. Studies have shown that employees who stick around in their current job and company can expect a 3% average annual raise, whereas changing your job/company will get you a 10-20% increase in your salary.

THE BAD

Perception

You may be dismissed by hiring managers. While many employers have become more accepting of shorter periods of employment, I would be lying if I hadn’t supported teams who dismissed resumes of candidates who changed companies every 1-3 years. Hiring managers may not want to invest their time and resources into someone they believe will only stay for a year or two. 

Have Reasoning

If you are a job hopper, it’s likely you’ll be asked about your frequent moves, even if they’re legitimate (maybe you relocated, were a contract worker, or your job was eliminated). Be prepared to explain the reasoning behind each of your moves and tell your story.

It’s Taxing

When you only spend a year or two at each organization, you’re constantly settling in and having to re-prove yourself which can be taxing and stressful.

All in all, changings jobs every few years has clear benefits and where it makes sense and you’re able to explain your reasoning, it can be the right move. But it can be taxing on you to do it frequently while also leaving some hiring managers with the perception that you’re not looking for something long term, even if you are.

If the goal of your next move is to find a place that you stay for the long term, make sure you do your research on the job, the company and the culture to learn as much as you can up front and increase your likelihood of staying. Ask questions and try to get a sense of what it would be like to really work at that company and what advancement and development looks like so that you can make an informed decision on an offer.

10 Great Questions to Ask in an Interview

When you interview with a company, it’s important to remember that an interview is a two-way street. Yes, it’s a chance for the employer to evaluate you but it’s just as important for you to validate if the position and the company are the right fit for you. The question period at the end of the interview is the perfect time to ask any questions that you might have about the position and the company.

The question period is also an opportunity to demonstrate your interest in the role by asking thoughtful questions and showing that you’ve done your research, so always make sure you’re prepared!

There are lots of great questions out there but here are 10 to get you started.

1) How would you describe the company culture?

2) How do you measure success in this role? OR What has past success looked like in this role?

3) What are the biggest challenges someone in this position would face?

4) What other teams or departments does this position work with?

5) Do you have any employee resource groups? (a great question if you’re seeking a company that promotes diversity and inclusion)

6) I read an article about the company doing X, can you tell me more about this? (read current articles about what the company is doing to show you’ve done your research and learn more)

7) What do you like about working for the company?

8) How do you help your team grow professionally?

9) Is there anything that concerns you about my background being a fit for this role that I can address?

10) What are the next steps in the interview process?

How to Get Your Resume Noticed by Recruiters

You might spend days or even weeks perfecting your resume before sending out job applications. But how long does the average recruiter actually spend reviewing your resume? According to a 2018 eye tracking study, Ladders Inc. found that recruiters scan a resume for an average of 7.4 seconds (which is up from 6 seconds in 2012). The resumes that fared well were easy to read and featured simple layouts with clear section and heading titles. Resumes that did not do well were those that were too long with cluttered layouts, multiple columns and little white space.

As a candidate there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of getting noticed and shortlisted to move forward in the process.

Make your resume easy to read

When recruiters scan your resume they need to be able to easily digest your experience and understand what you do. This means no paragraphs, long winded bullet points, images or an overly creative and distracting format to your resume that makes it difficult to locate information. Recruiters need to be able to clearly locate your current title and company, your previous title and company, start/end dates and education. You can also opt to add a few key bullet points as a summary to the top of your resume to highlight your work experience in a few sentences.

Another consideration in making your resume easy to read is formatting. Keep your resume in reverse chronological order and use a simple, no-fuss font like Times New Roman or Calibri in a font size of 10-12.

Last but not least, keywords, keywords, keywords! Make sure your resume is keyword friendly by including keywords for the skills you think they’d search for based on the position. As an example, if you work in finance and you’ve worked with certain software or programs, include those on your resume. You can also look through the job description to find the most relevant keywords the recruiter might search for.

Don’t make it too long

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to how many pages you should keep your resume to. The shorter it is the easier it will be for the recruiter to review, but if cutting your resume to 1 page means cutting out valuable experience or information, don’t do it. Based on your level and the number of years you’ve been working I’d aim to keep your resume between 2-3 pages.

Tailor your resume to the job you’re applying to

Your resume should always be tailored to the role you’re applying to. The easiest way to do this is to look at the job description of the role and draw the shortest line possible between your experience and what is stated in the job description so that it’s clear you’re a match for the position. The more tailored the resume is, the better off you’ll be.  

Highlight your accomplishments

Highlighting your accomplishments can set you apart as an applicant. Recruiters and hiring managers like to see what you were able to accomplish in each role in addition to your day to day responsibilities. You can include a few bullet points for each of your roles to highlight your key accomplishments that lead to tangible results. For example, if you implemented a new program, increased sales by X, or lead a key project start to finish – we want to hear about it (just be sure you’re able to clearly outline how you accomplished these wins as they’ll likely be discussed in the interview process).

Use your network

One of the most effective ways to get your resume noticed is to use the connections in your network. If you know someone at the company you’re applying to who can refer you or forward your resume to the HR department, this can make a huge impact. Company referrals are trusted sources and because of this, referrals who get moved forward to the interview stage of the process statistically have a higher chance of getting hired than other candidates.

Other Tips:

Don’t neglect your LinkedIn profile – make sure it’s up to date and that all of the information on your resume lines up with what you have on LinkedIn.

Remove irrelevant information – anything non-work related, old or irrelevant jobs from the past can all go.

Use action words to describe your responsibilities at each employer – think of words like managed, lead, implemented, etc.

Submit your resume as a PDF – it’s cleaner and it will prevent any formatting errors.

Always double check your resume for spelling errors or typos before sending.

Good luck!

Why a Growth Mindset is the Key to Success

Being able to harness a growth mindset can have implications on your career development. Mindset is everything, and as organizations become more agile and fast-moving, a growth mindset becomes a much higher priority and therefore crucial to your career success. Individuals who have a growth mindset believe their talents can be developed and tend to achieve more than those with a fixed mindset, who are more likely to believe that talents are innate gifts rather than something that can be improved upon through hard work.

A growth mindset is also exactly the opposite of a fixed mindset in that it is quite literally not fixed. Creating a growth mindset is a process – a gradual and conscious process of changing the way you think over time and regularly reflecting on where you utilize your growth mindset vs. your fixed mindset in various areas of your life. A growth mindset is more of a journey than an end-goal and requires critical thinking and a belief in continuous learning.

How does this impact your career?

If you have a fixed mindset, you believe that you’re dealt a specific hand in life including your talents, abilities and intelligence. This belief of an invisible ceiling will likely stunt your career progression at some point.

If you have a growth mindset, you believe in cultivating skills, knowledge and talents through hard work, strategy and feedback. You place less limitations on yourself and your abilities and believe in failing forward and learning.

Through reflection you can start to identify where in your life you utilize your fixed mindset, and where you utilize a growth mindset. Some questions to ask yourself:

Where have you seen challenges as learning experiences?

Do you take advantage of opportunities to develop your skills, knowledge and abilities?

Steps to Foster a Growth Mindset

Fail Forward

Embrace failure and acknowledge that failing does not mean that you are unintelligent or inadequate. When you make an error or a mistake, you haven’t failed, you’ve learned.

Seek Feedback

Feedback is vital to your growth and development, and individuals with a growth mindset accept and embrace feedback for self-improvement.

Prioritize Learning

The process of learning is the key, not necessarily the end result.

Turn Challenges into Opportunities

Having a growth mindset means challenges are just opportunities for learning and improvement.

If you want to read more about the research behind the correlation between mindset and success, I highly recommend Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. It’s based on decades of research by the author and world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck and will completely change the way you think.

“No matter what your current ability is, effort is what ignites that ability and turns it into accomplishment.” – Carol Dweck

3 Habits for Working Remotely

I must say that working remotely has been the best part of 2020 for me, bar none. It has offered more flexibility and balance between my personal and work schedule and with no hour-long commute to endure, I can effectively do so much more with that free time. However, I have noticed this year that maintaining a healthy boundary between work and home has been extremely challenging because working remotely has made it that much easier to be plugged in all the time.

In the beginning of the pandemic working remotely felt somewhat stressful and I went a little overboard with working trying to make it clear that I was still productive from home. More recently, I’ve found myself rationalizing answering emails while watching TV “after work” and going to log off at 5:30pm and thinking ‘well, let me just knock this one thing off of my to-do list’ and then looking up to find it’s 7pm. This has caused work and home to become one big blur which lead to a bit of burnout recently and I realized I had to make some adjustments.

Separate your workspace

Being able to work from your bed is fun until it isn’t! Drawing a line between where you work vs. where you live is important. If you can physically close the door to your home office at the end of the workday that’s great, but even if you don’t have a home office, working from a specific part of your apartment or room and putting your laptop and work phone away each day when you finish will help to create some separation. 

Have a trigger to kickstart and end the workday

With no commute and no heels to kick off at the end of the day, I was missing a trigger that told my brain that the workday had ended. Your trigger could be anything – getting dressed, meditating, reading, taking a shower, taking a walk or whatever works for you. I’ve found the trigger that starts my day is putting on a pot of coffee in the morning, and the trigger to end my day has been a walk or two around the block. It’s enough time to clear my head and separate myself from work thoughts and technology.

Set a time to log off

It becomes much easier to lose track of time and work late when you’re remote. Setting a hard stop time for yourself will keep your work in check and also prevent it from bleeding into your personal life and the things you need to do after work. I would normally finish up my workday around 4:30pm so I do my best to set a hard stop at 5pm, which gives me a little bit of leeway to finish things up.

While working remotely creates a lot of flexibility, it also allows work to start creeping into your personal life which can create an unhealthy dynamic in your home- balance is key. Setting a few disciplined habits will mean being able to mentally and physically detach from your work more easily, creating a stronger work-life balance for you.

Why You Should Never Accept the Counteroffer

There have been two instances in my career where I accepted a new job with a different company and when I walked into my managers office to provide my resignation, I was asked what salary I’d be looking for in order to stay. In both situations I was a very taken back, and with one it was downright offensive because I had already tried to negotiate a salary increase months before.

While it can be tempting (and flattering) to hear your manager and company try to bid you back with a higher salary, promise of more responsibility or something else of value to you, the best response is a very polite “no, thank you”, and here’s why.

There was a reason you decided to start a job search and that could have included salary, but probably wasn’t limited to it.

A 2018 study done by Korn Ferry of almost 5000 professionals found that 33% of employees started looking for a job because they were bored and no longer felt challenged in their role. 24% started looking because the company culture didn’t fit with their values, while a smaller percentage noted salary as the top reason to start looking for a new job. And my guess is that prior to starting your search, you had already tried to resolve your concerns, or, your concern was something fixed (like a rough commute).

When your manager comes to you with a counter offer you might wonder: between yesterday and today, what changed? Why are you now being offered the raise you asked for months ago? Why is there now an opportunity for you to lead that project? It isn’t that your value is suddenly apparent to your manager. It’s because your leaving not only causes a disruption in work and productivity, but it also means hiring and training someone new which is expensive and a large time commitment.

Bottom line: if you ever find yourself on the other end of a counteroffer, take stock of the reasons you started your job search in the first place and be honest with yourself. Would those issues go away or be resolved if you accepted? It’s unlikely.

How to Pivot into a Totally Different Job

Throughout my career, I’ve encountered many folks trying to pivot into totally different jobs and fields within their company. They might feel like there isn’t as much growth potential as they want in their field, they genuinely don’t enjoy their work anymore, or there’s a need to gain skills and experience in a totally different area in order to progress in their career. I can tell you that no matter what you’re doing, it might be difficult but it’s never impossible and there are a few key things you can do to make it happen.

Speak Up

This is crucial if you’re looking to make your move internally with your current company. If you have a performance development routine with your manager, bring it up and add it to your personal development plan with actionable steps. In many companies, your two key supporters will be your direct manager and your HR partner. Making your interests clear to both parties will help them to guide you effectively and champion you when a new role comes up.

Education

Pursue formal learning where required. Completing a certificate or a course is not only a good idea to get a base set of knowledge for certain fields (in some it’ll be required), but it also demonstrates your commitment to making a career change.

Find Ways to Get Experience

I recommend finding ways to get even small amounts of experience in the department you aspire to work in. There are lots of options here including but not limited to job shadowing, volunteering some of your time to help in a different department, short term experiences, short term assignments, the list goes on. Get creative and work with your manager to determine what makes sense based on your time capacity and your existing transferrable skills.

Build Relationships

The relationships and networks you build professionally can be key to helping you progress, especially when there is such a large hidden job market. Network by reaching out to associates or leaders in the department you’re interested in to learn more, express your interest and also get some direction and guidance.

Craft a Compelling Narrative

Hiring Managers are going to want to understand why you’re looking to make a change into a different role or career. Craft a compelling story that ties together your past experiences and interests and how they’ve brought you to where you are now, and why you believe this is the right move for you. Also be sure to include how your skills and knowledge would be of benefit in the new role.

Apply

When those jobs come up, apply! Make sure your resume reads as relevant as possible- have any relevant experience and education front and center so that the hiring manager can easily see your demonstrated commitment and interest, particularly if you’re coming from a different field. And keep at it – it can take time to make a change like this so try to not get discouraged if it doesn’t happen overnight.

How to Prepare for a Panel Interview

You applied to a role, made it through the first stage with the recruiter (me!) and then find out you’re being moved to the next stage of the interview process which will be a panel interview. The idea of being interviewed by a group of people is enough to make anyone sweat.

What is a Panel Interview?

A panel interview is an interview with a hiring team, usually made up of the Hiring Manager plus any other relevant stakeholders or decision makers, and sometimes HR. Panel interviews are usually made up of between 2 and 5 people.

Why a Panel Interview?

Panel interviews can be extremely effective, namely because they save time for everyone by reducing the amount of interview rounds. They’re a more agile way of hiring and can speed up the process tenfold. Through including additional panel members, the hiring manager can gain more perspective on the candidate and it also reduces the risk of making a bad hire. On the flip side, it’s also an opportunity for the candidate to get a sense of who they’ll be working with as well as a feel for the company culture by meeting with multiple people.

As with any interview, preparation is key.

Research and Know Your Audience

Before any interview you should research the company to get a feel for their culture, vision and any recent news or activity. Being able to demonstrate in an interview that you’ve done your research on the company also shows the interviewers that you’re truly interested in that specific company and not just in finding employment. Additionally, research the panel members through a quick search on LinkedIn to learn more about who you’ll be meeting with and gain some context.

Bring Your Resume

Depending on how prepared the panel is, they may or may not already have your resume printed and prepped to meet with you. As a precaution (and to show how prepared you are) it’s always good to bring enough copies of your resume for everyone on the panel.

Prepare Examples

Before your interview, review the job description again. Try to anticipate the kinds of questions the panel will ask you based on the qualifications of the role and build out some strong examples. You’ll not only refamiliarize yourself with the role expectations which is important, but you’ll have great examples ready to draw on in the interview and hopefully relieve some nerves. 

Connect with Everyone

By this, I mean make sure you talk to everyone and make eye contact with everyone at some point in the interview. I’ve been a part of many panel interviews where the candidate is not inclusive of everyone in the room and intentionally or unintentionally focuses their attention only on the hiring manager.

Be Authentic

Interviews are where you can show your personality and build relationships with the hiring team. We love to meet with candidates and feel like we got a sense of their authentic selves whether it was through their humor, something bold they wore, their body language, or even a really strong work example they provided that demonstrated a quality we look for.

Come Prepared with Questions

Always come prepared with a few thoughtful questions to ask at the end of the interview. They’re a great way to differentiate yourself through crafting questions that show the panel your interest, your knowledge in the space and your ability to make connections. For a panel interview, think of a question that you would want to ask each panel member so that the Q&A is not just a conversation between yourself and the hiring manager.

Thank You Notes

Lastly, thank you notes through email go a long way and you would be surprised how underutilized they are. Briefly thank the panel for their time, reiterate your interest in the role, and let them know you’re looking forward to next steps in the process. If you don’t have the email addresses of the panel members you can reach out to the recruiter for their contact information or send the thank you note to the recruiter to please forward to the panel for their time.